Social distancing campaign extended through May 5
April. 25, 2020
Global Korean Post
By Lee Hana
The government on April 19 announced an extension of social distancing practices against the COVID-19 outbreak for around three weeks from April 20 to May 5.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters in Seoul that though the past four weeks of strict social distancing have achieved the targeted results to an extent, it has “absolutely” not reached a safe stage.
“From April 20 to May 5, we’ll maintain the basis of the social distancing we’ve implemented until now, with a partial easing of the guidelines,” he said.
In consideration of public fatigue and slowing economic activity due to the extension of social distancing, the government also lifted its “strong recommendation” to discontinue activities for the four types of the country’s most densely populated facilities such as places of worship and sports and education facilities, though they must still comply with quarantine measures.
In addition, outdoor public facilities that are deemed low risk like nature reserves can reopen as soon as they are ready, while outdoor sports events can resume if held without spectators to reduce the risk of infection.
The prime minister said, “Assuming we maintain our current level of stable management, we will transition from May 6 to a stage of ‘daily quarantine’ in which we practice social distancing while carrying on with our daily lives,” adding, “We will consider the general situation in gradually pushing ahead with the opening of the school year in stages.”
He remained cautious over easing the public’s guard, saying, “Controlling the intensity of social distancing has no guarantee of success.”
“Social distancing can succeed only if each and every individual becomes a responsible quarantine expert by following quarantine rules within his or her life, while keeping themselves and the community safe.”
He added, “We will keep a close watch on blind spots, monitor densely populated facilities and preemptively stop threats through sample testing. If a big threat is discovered at any time, the intensity of social distancing will be raised again,” stressing that the government has not lowered its guard against the pandemic.